Home Rule Study Commission
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Chair: Susan Linville moved to New Castle with her husband about 14 years ago. She has a PhD in Biology and is a freelance writer who owns a gift shop in downtown New Castle. She was a member of New Visions and the city’s Historical Architectural Review Board. Her interest in New Castle’s history has led to the publication of three books. Her goal is to make New Castle’s future to be as bright as its past.
Vice Chair: Eric Ritter is a lifelong resident of New Castle. He owns a construction and lawn care business called EGR Home Services. He and his wife completely renovated a 120+ year old home on the Lower East Side and currently live there with their son, daughter, and pets. As a commission member, he wants us to work together to steer New Castle in the right direction to help the city thrive and become a great place to live and enjoy.
Secretary: Marco Bulisco resides in the city’s first ward with his wife, Angela, and daughter, Allegra. He has been a member of the New Castle City Fire Department for 6 years. Marco views the Home Rule Study Commission as a great opportunity to aid and assist in the future success of the City of New Castle.
Treasurer: Gary M. Bucci is a lifelong resident of New Castle. He worked at the China Division of Universal Rundle for 12 years and was in the Department of the Auditor General for 28 years. Gary has three children and volunteered in a youth baseball/ girls softball organization for 19 years. He is adamant about helping the city and wants the commission to succeed. He knows it won’t be easy, but it can be done.
Shannon Crisci-Brock is a life-long resident of New Castle. She is a graduate of New Castle High School and studied at Westminster College. She currently works at Hessprint as the VP of Sales and Marketing. Shannon has 4 children, two of which are Slippery Rock University graduates, her two youngest boys are students of the New Castle Area School District. Shannon remembers how New Castle used to be and she became part of the commission to try to help New Castle be a place where people want to live again.
Richard E. Conti, Jr. is life-long resident of the City of New Castle and 21 year veteran of the New Castle Police Department. Married to Stacy Jo Conti for 27 years and we have (2) Two sons Richard and Nicholas and next may they will both be college graduates. I’m old enough to remember how great New Castle once was and with the right direction can become again. It’s a tremendous and uphill battle which is why I committed to be on this Commission.
Michael Tempesta is a 2005 graduate of New Castle Senior High School and a 2015 graduate of New Castle School of Trades. He is active in the community and has worked in the steel industry for a number of years.
Anthony Mastrangelo was born and raised on New Castle’s South Side. He is a graduate of Youngstown State, and has a MS in hospital administration from Columbia University. He served for three-terms as mayor of New Castle.
Jeffrey E. Oprean has degrees from Geneva College and Slippery Rock University. He has worked with FirstEnergy Corporation for over 37 years and teaches at Butler Community College. He’s active in his church, plays baseball and softball, and was involved with youth sports for many years.
WHY HOME RULE?
New Castle has been designated as a financially distressed municipality under Act 47 since 2007. Act 47 gives the city the ability to collect wage taxes at rates that are not normally allowed in Pennsylvania for Third Class cities.
In August of 2019, the City Council adopted an Exit Plan strategy and suggested that New Castle become a Home Rule City. A Home Rule charter would provide “the City with what may be its best chance to close its deficit and successfully exit Act 47 oversight.”
In November of 2019, the voters elected a Home Rule Charter Government Study Commission of seven members to study New Castle’s present form of government and to consider adopting a Home Rule Charter.
Creating a new Home Rule Charter will give residents the ability to adopt a more modern, efficient form of government and provide for a taxing system that is balanced and fair for taxpayers.
THE COMMISSION’S TIMELINE (18 Months)
STEP 1: November 25, 2019
Organizational meeting, oath of office, election of officers, work plan
STEP 2: December 2019 – March 2020
Retain a consultant, study current government structure, interview local officials, and study Home Rule Charters
STEP: 3: March – May 2020
Obtain public opinion with surveys and questionnaires, hold focus groups, and decide to go forward with a Home Rule Charter or not.
STEP 4: May –December 2020
Draft of Home Rule Charter begins with help of consultant.
STEP 5: January 2021 – February 2021
Review charter draft, hold public hearings, meet with city officials and experts, and write final report.
STEP 6: March 12, 2021
Submit Final charter and report to the City Clerk and voters
STEP 7: March 12 – May 18, 2021
Develop and distribute educational materials and hold outreach meetings.
MAY 18, 2021: VOTERS elect whether to adopt the new Home Rule Charter or not.
STEP 8: June 2021 – December 2021
If Home Rule Charter is approved, the commission will work with the consultant to draft the administrative code and transition plan.